Rule 1 for Survival: Fitness – Part 1, by John H.

Introduction

Rule #1 rule of any survival situation is physical fitness. True fitness provides you the ability to respond to any situation without failing.

Based on our age, health situation, and more, physical fitness is different for each of us.

It is not a win-lose situation. You do not have to choose between being either an extreme athlete or a couch potato. Everybody’s journey is different.

However, the most important thing is that you always continue to work towards your goal, one step at a time.

Any improvement is worth it.

A Bit About Me

In this post, we will be exploring some basic advice and tips on how to get and stay physically fit. First off though, here is a little about me.

When I was 18, I broke my femur in half while snowboarding. It took three years and two surgeries to get through the chronic pain to a place of full healing.

During that time, I became interested in running and threw myself into cardio (running, biking, swimming) and weight training. It also helped that I had gained thirty pounds in college!

I am not an expert, but at my peak, I did get down to 15% body fat and clocked a 25:30 5 kilometer (“5K”) run. I did a great deal of research and really dedicated myself to being physically fit.

Now, after four years of professional life, I am nowhere near that shape, but I have begun again to dedicate myself to becoming physically fit. I will be running another 5K race in April.

There is so much advice out there, much of it contradictory or dedicated to people who are far more intense about their bodies than you or I need to be. This post is just some simple, friendly tips on how those normal people among us can reach a point of physical ability where we feel comfortable about acting in a survival situation.

Key Elements of Fitness:

Before I address the three elements of fitness as I see them, let’s just say a few things out front.

  • Anything you do is better than nothing. Do not believe you have to attain an ideal weight or body type in order to become more healthy.
  • Each personal fitness journey is different. There is no mold that fits you. Do what is right for your body.
  • All exercise should build incrementally. Never feel forced to attain everything all at once. Set a reasonable goal a few months in the future, say running a race, and work towards it.
  • Exercise does not need to be planned. You don’t have to hit the gym or put on your running shoes. It can be as simple as, “every time I get to the office, I am going to use the stairs.”
  • A “rest day” does not mean a no exercise day. In order to become truly fit, you have to think about incorporating fitness wherever you go and any time of day. Going to the gym three times a week and then vegging in front of the television on your off days will do nothing. Instead, a “rest day” means you dial back your physical activity so your body can heal. Perhaps you do a less high-impact form of cardio. Maybe you swim instead of running, but you never spend an entire day not moving.

  1. Flexibility

If you do not want to injure yourself, especially during an emergency situation, it is essential that you dedicate time to flexibility. There are many different types of stretching, dynamic and static, as well as methods grounded in different cultural and belief systems.

What is important to realize is that by stretching daily as well as after intense workouts, you are not only protecting yourself from injury but also addressing many of the causes of back, hip, and other chronic pain that plague many of us.

The key to a good stretching regimen is to find what works best for you and listen to your body.

What parts of your body hurt the most? Can you touch your toes? Do your shoulders ache? These are all clues you can use to target a stretching regimen to the needs of your body.

Before we address how to stretch, let’s just make a plug for YouTube. There are literally thousands of videos targeted to your areas of fitness needs. Find them, and dedicate 15 minutes every morning to practicing what they teach.

Now, this might be a point of contention for many readers. Please don’t get upset! However, I am going to suggest you practice Yoga.

I am well aware of the theological implications, especially for Christians. I recognize that Yoga’s roots extend back into the spiritual beginnings of eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism and play an important part in the mysticism of enlightenment.

If this makes you uncomfortable, I am going to make my case that a Christian can practice Yoga without fear. Keep it or leave it, entirely up to you.

First, one reason I like Yoga for stretching is because it combines dynamic and static stretches. In twenty minutes, you can loosen up your entire body for the day. Secondly, as you advance, Yoga becomes a form of strength training, especially for the core.

I have one more reason, but first, let’s address the theological implications.

I had a pastor once talk about whether Christians could practice meditation. Both meditation and Yoga have roots in the same traditions, so I think it is a fair analogy.

His point was that by “emptying your mind” you are allowing the forces of evil to invade. Instead, you should meditate through prayer.

Whether you agree with that interpretation or not, I think his suggestion gets to the root of the problem. There is a physical action, in both meditation and Yoga, that can change your physiology and health. There is also a spiritual component as you turn your focus inwards.

I believe it is simply a matter of replacing the action of meditation with the action of prayer.

There is no reason why you cannot stretch and have a conversation with God.

To that end, it is important to find the right videos and/or instructors. Some focus on the religious component and some merely on the physical. Find one that is right for you and make the physical component part of your daily, spiritual actions.

There is one more reason why I find Yoga useful, mindfulness. There is no spiritual or magical meaning to this word at all. Rather, it simply means being aware of how your body, your heart, and your mind feel at any given moment.

Many of us believe the myth that we need experts to tell us everything about our physical and mental health.

Back pain? Visit a doctor and get some opioids, or visit a chiropractor and have a costly readjustment. Of course, there are very legitimate reasons why you would need expert help. I am not degrading those.

I am simply suggesting that you can often pinpoint the reason for that muscle ache and find an appropriate stretch to get you back on your feet, all because you focused on and took ownership of, what your body was telling you.

So far, I have addressed the stretching that should happen every day. It is also important to stretch after every workout. This can be as little as three minutes after a run, stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, and groin.

The most important thing to remember is, experiment and find the stretches that work for you and target your problem areas.

  1. Strength

Disclaimer: Never workout through pain and never try anything you are not comfortable with. If you want to perform specific exercises, consider joining a gym and getting pointers on how to perform them correctly.

No one is suggesting that you need to be ripped. No one is suggesting that you need to be an America Ninja Warrior. If those are attainable goals for you, fantastic. Otherwise, your best strength goals are small and specific to your life.

A core principle of strength training is that you should have a goal for every exercise. I don’t mean goals like these: I want to have big arms, I want six pack abdominal muscles, or I want X amount of body fat.

For our purposes, those goals don’t mean anything. Instead, you should focus on goals like these:

  1. Can I pick up and carry my child without hurting myself?
  2. Can I carry all of our essential belongings out of our house in the case of a fire?
  3. If our car breaks down, am I capable of hiking through hilly terrain carrying a backpack?
  4. Can I climb stairs?
  5. Can I sit up without using any assistance?
  6. Can I prevent myself from falling?
  7. Are my upper body and grip strength enough to climb up a ravine?
  8. Here is a crazy one, just for fun. Could you hold onto a family member who has fallen off a cliff, Hollywood style?

These goals translate into specific muscle groups and actions you need to build up and practice. I am reminded of the scene from Ender’s Shadow where Bean practices one-arm pushups so that he can climb through the air vents.

(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)




13 Comments

  1. Meditation vs. Transcendental Meditation is the place of controversy. Your pastor was correct, in that TM places emphasis on emptying your mind in order to achieve Nirvana (not the band). Christian meditation focuses upon Christ, and is a deliberate attempt to fill your mind with the beauty of the LORD. DDP Yoga, developed by pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, is a great resource that in my experience avoids the TM issue. It is scalable to any level of ability and moves progressively to help establish not just flexibility, but also functional strength. I’m looking forward to the rest of your article tomorrow.

    1. Emptying your mind opens you up to the demonic world, NOT to the God of Creation!

      Yoga is NOT for Christians! NOT at all! If you are a Christian and practice Yoga with meditating on God’s word you are still being deceived. The root of the practice of Yoga is to prepare it’s followers for the process of dying/DEATH. And Christians are practicing this most days with the thought of it relaxing them? When you assume the poses of Yoga you are inviting the Kundalini serpent spirit into your being. Should “professing” Christians be doing such things?

      Do your due diligence in studying into the roots of all practices before adopting them. Many, many Jews and Christians are deceived because of these different practices that have been introduced into the western world. Do you want to turn away from the living God? “My People are destroyed for lack of knowledge!” Hosea 4:6 is a cry from God to His people. Take Heed! By the way, every single religion outside of biblical Christianity has it’s roots in Babylonian mysticism, which is Satan worship, at it’s core, whether you know it or not!

      God says in the book of Revelation to “Come out of her, do not partake in her practices.” You will risk damnation if you don’t quit these practices and repent! Fill your mind with the Word of God, think on it day and night, but not in any form of repetition. The repetition is used only to memorize it. Then move on to more scripture memorization. Think on the Glory and majesty and power and beauty and the miracles that he does and praise him!

      Blessings,

      Lily

      1. As a 6 black belt , 40 year martial artist (not my age), stretching is a crucial part of the art to avoid injury…it has nothing to do with allowing evil into your mind, unless you believe that in itself the practice of the martial arts are evil…maybe so…maybe the gun is too. Perhaps even more so.
        Much ado about nothing…stretch and while doing it think about whatever you want to.

      2. Amen to that! I totally agree.

        A friend of mine was once into the martial arts. It took up a lot of his time which took him away from his family. And as he puts it in his own words:

        *******
        “Little did I realize the power, and the influence of darkness which these arts would play in my life over the next 24 years. And how blinded I truly was to the high price which training in these pagan mystical arts would eventually cost my family and I as I grew older.”

        “During the years it took for me to achieve Black belt, I did not realize the subtle changes which were being made in my thinking. Through the teachings of the eastern philosophies hidden within the martial arts (regardless of style), I began to compromise the Word of GOD in order to climb the ladder of success. I attempted to bend His Word to make It fit my way of life, rather than bringing my life into submission to the Bible’s precepts and instruction. Little did I realize that the martial arts had become my religion, and the instructors, my gods. For I served and obeyed their commands rather than the Word of the LORD.”

        “It had been nearly two and a half years since our separation and divorce, and my wife Sarah was struggling, and clinging desperately to our LORD’s Promise which He had spoken to her in His Word. Yea, ‘I will restore the years that the locust has devoured . . . And I shall turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse !’And ‘what God hath joined together, let no man (not even the judge) put asunder.’ These promises my wife Sarah determined by faith, to appropriate and make her own very own!”
        Joel 2:25, Malachi 4:4-6 and Matthew 19:3-8

        *******

        Through a series of miraculous events he has been reunited with his wife and now has a personal ministry called Isaiah Ministries. He also exposes the dangers of Yoga and various forms of mediation. One of his YouTube videos is titled “Watch & Pray 2019 – Yoga, Pantheism and the Poison of Serpents!” There are eleven videos that have “Yoga” in the title on his channel and twelve that deal with “martial arts”.

        I would also like to add that many churches “inside” Christianity have little tiny pieces of doctrine that do not come from the Bible. It takes a lot of diligent study to stay on track.

        1. David ‘n’ Goliath,

          Thank you so much for backing up my words with your friend’s testimony!! People really need to be discerning. People need to be discerning abut the stated agenda and the possible underlying unstated agenda(s) of any organization. Unfortunately the majority of the martial arts have Eastern mysticism attached as baggage. Christian’s only alliance should be to Jesus and Him alone. We live in a dangerous world with so many distractions to deceive and pull us away from Him alone. We are living in the very last days of the Age of Grace and we need to be super diligent and discerning to not be deceived and distracted. Be in the Word and in prayer and continually beg the Lord for discernment and to keep you safe in Him.

          Blessings,

          Lily

          1. I have to admit, I am a bit shocked that Survivalblog is advocating against martial arts.

            Rather than arguing on this topic, could anyone explain to me how to stretch properly in the eyes of the lord?

          2. It is only the Eastern Mysticism aspects that we object to. Christian prayer while stretching or exercising is not a bad thing, unless it is mindlessly repetitive. Yoga positions are designed to invite the Kundalini Serpent Spirit. Avoid yoga.

  2. Great article.
    A few years ago, I went hunting in a mountainous area and was hunting at about the 5,500 foot level. It kicked my butt! So I joined a local gym and started hitting the treadmill.
    Every couple of weeks, I would have to increase speed and/or incline to hit my targeted heart rate. I also increased time on the mill. 5 days a week too.
    I also started yoga 3 times a week.
    Next hunting trip: similar place, just a thousand feet higher. That trip I kicked the mountains butt. I wasn’t so sore either.

    Nothing too difficult. Just walking.

  3. I have been thinking about this subject for a while now. For me fitness is 3rd in the order of importance for well being. IMO sleep is number one over all. If you are not sleeping well then everything else suffers. Next would be nutrition. If you are not eating well the effectiveness of working out and sleep is reduced. The beneficiary of the two would be fitness. If you eat well and sleep well your fitness goals will be maximized. These are just my thoughts from my research and personal experience.

  4. Kudos to Avalanche Lily regarding her reply. May I suggest a DVD from Skywatch TV, Rev. Dr. Tom Horn’s ministry, entitled Beyond Supernatural. Former New Ager Steven Bancarz explains the dangers of Yoga. IMHO, every Christian should avail themselves to the teaching.

    Pastor Mark in PRofNY

  5. There’s “Yoga” the flexibility set of exercises, then there’s “Yoga”, the Hindu liturgy, and there are middle versions combining both bits.

    If you don’t like “Yoga” or can’t trust your instructor, there is no shortage of “How to gain flexibility enough to do split” workouts which are totally devoid of any religion in martial arts sections.

    Ambiguity is a tool of the Devil, but both ways, to make something innocent seem like sin, and to make sin seem like something innocent. Both are evils. The latter is more obvious, but the former is often worse as it is more insidious as calling “good” “evil” is still of the devil.

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